HEY GAIZ! U NO THAT THING THAT COUNTRY DID THAT TURNED IT INTO AN INTERNATIONAL PARIAH? WE NEED A PIECE OF THAT. THAT’S THE GOOD SHIT.
Unexpurgated minutes there from the most recent meeting of Prime Minister Abe’s Senior Advisory Panel.
Well done Taro.
Fast forward a few months and it’s the turn of Sono Ayako to grab the Hoary Old Bigot Baton and pelt around the well worn track of idiocy, castigation, and half-assed point-missing, back-peddling, and denial. In a ‘think piece’ in the Sankei Newspaper (which is a very rough parallel to the UK’s Daily Mail, just without the obsession with house prices and cancer) she posited that Japan needs more immigrants.
So far so good. She then went on to suggest that maybe Japan should ease up on the restrictive language requirements for potential incomers, which is less clear-cut but still generally unobjectionable. Then, clearly bored with making sense, she suggested that any old idiot could enter the caring professions provided they could muster an appropriately sweet and gormless smile and that the rise of the Islamic State proves apartheid was the right thing for South Africa. I paraphrase, but really not by much.
Well done Ayako.
Ms Sono is apparently a successful author, but then so is Dan Brown. However, until fairly recently she was also an invited member of a governmental panel on education reform. People were thus unhappy with her views as expressed, and she in turn professed herself shocked -- shocked! -- that anyone could have misinterpreted her words as support for apartheid; apparently she just really likes Chinatown. Here’s piece that with a politely brutal clarity exposes her original article for the unmitigated and incoherent horseshit it is, but I really have little interest in detailing all the ways her response made things worse, not better. We’ve been here so many times before. So, so many times.
Ms Sono is 83. Mr Aso is 74. In many ways it’s quite exciting being part of this bold new experiment in governance: you can keep your representative democracies, your totalitarian dictatorships, your monarchies, your oligarchies, and your theocracies. Governance by the Few, Governance by the Many, Governance by the Military and the Rich and the People; all these have been tried and found wanting. What we have here is Governance by Embarrassing Elderly Relative at a Family Gathering, and I can’t help but feel a tiny thrill of anticipation about what will happen next time Great-Uncle Ryugo feels the need to hold forth with opinions which ‘you’re not allowed say any more’ even though he’s clearly not going to let that stop him, more’s the fucking pity.
Anyway, they’ll all be dead soon.
All this sarcasm is clearly unbecoming and unhelpful in the wider scheme of things, but last week my eldest got called ‘foreigner’ at nursery school for the first time so this is part of me processing the whole shitstorm clusterfuck that is race and identity in Japan. Please don’t anyone be interpreting this as an opportune time to point out faults in my reasoning.